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‘A nice crack and ring’ in Rut’s latest

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — It’s amazing what time off the road will accomplish – just ask Zack Lopez.

“We were on tour until last June,” he explains. “We were pretty much fried and needed a break. It was tough for us and we didn’t want to do anything with music.”

Lopez is half of the alternative band Middle Class Rut. It had toured for nearly three years in support of its debut album, “No Name No Color.”

With a little break, Lopez and his music partner, Sean Stockham, found a new spark to make music. The result is “Pick Up Your Head,” which will be released in June.

Featuring The Killers, Middle Class Rut, Cake, Minus The Bear, Bad Religion
WHEN: 2 p.m. Sunday, May 5
WHERE: Isleta Amphitheater, 5601 University SE
HOW MUCH: $25-$80 at or 800-745-3000

“We’ve taken out some of the material for a short run earlier this year and people responded well,” he explains. “We’ve begun to pick up some steam for the album with the new single.”

In fact, Middle Class Rut’s new single, “Aunt Betty” was recently highlighted by USA Today as its “song of the week.” Lopez says getting national attention like that before the album comes out only helps.

“It was a surprise to us,” he says. “When something like that happens, it helps get the word out about us. It also reminds our fans that we have new music coming out. That’s half the battle.”


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In making “Pick Up Your Head,” Lopez says the entire process was different than the duo’s first album.

“This record was made in the context of actually sitting down and writing the record,” he explains. “We realized we’d exhausted everything we could do with drums, guitar and vocals. Once we decided to take an ‘anything goes’ approach, the songs poured out. We were freer with layering and didn’t worry if we couldn’t reproduce it live, as long as we captured the music with the highest energy possible.”

Lopez says the duo collected ideas over the course of their nearly three-year tour.

Mixed by Grammy-winning producer Dave Sardy, who has produced for Johnny Cash, LCD Soundsystem, Noel Gallagher and High Flying Birds, the album was produced by the duo working alone in the studio.

“We wanted to have a distinct sound,” Lopez says. “Instead of jamming together, I’d write a bass line or a vocal melody. Sean would lay down a tempo and we’d write around that. For percussion, we’d use whatever was laying around – pots and pans, an old desk – anything with a nice crack and ring to it.”